Agenzia Fides REPORT - Deadlock but diplomacy is working away. Eye-witnesses in Abidjan and Korhogo speak to Fides “The lives of ordinary people continue while the politicians talk” a source from the Church in Abidjan tells Fides, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire, divided between two leaders, Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo. “Movement in the streets is quite regular and people are trying to go about their everyday lives. But the tension is obvious. The curfew is still in force from 10 pm to 5 am. Apart from some conflict, however, the violence seems to be under control at least in Abidjan.”
A missionary source from Korhogo in the north of the Country, tells Fides that the situation is calm. In recent days, however, there have been incidents of houses being burnt”. The north of Côte d'Ivoire has been controlled by New Forces rebels since September 2002, considered close to Alassane Ouattara. “In Korhogo, the population voted overwhelmingly for Ouattara, with very high percentages (90-92% of the vote). So here it is unlikely that there are clashes between supporters of Gbagbo and those of Ouattara,” says the Fides source. “The area is also manned by the New Forces, because the regular army (which seems to have remained loyal to Gbagbo, ed.) made only a brief appearance for the elections and then withdrew.”
Côte d'Ivoire therefore seems to moving towards a rift with two Presidents and two Prime Ministers who are preside over two different executives. In addition, the territorial division, which dates back to 2002 (with the north and west controlled by the New Forces), has never been fully reconciled. “The checkpoints between areas in the hands of the New Forces and those controlled by the central Government have never been completely removed, as required by the peace agreements signed in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in 2007. Recently there have been others instituted by the former rebels,” says our source from Korhogo.
Meanwhile, diplomacy is working to try to find a solution to the serious political and institutional crisis. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), convened today, 7 December, in Abuja (Nigeria) for a special Summit on Côte d'Ivoire, while mediation continues by the African Union envoy, former South African President Thabo Mbeki.